The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) research team reported reduced lung cancer mortality among current and former smokers with a minimum 30 pack-year history who were screened with spiral computed tomography scans compared with chest x-rays. The objectives of the current study were to examine, at 1-year follow-up: 1) risk perceptions of lung cancer and smoking-related diseases and behavior change determinants, 2) whether changes in risk perceptions differed by baseline screening result; and 3) whether changes in risk perceptions affected smoking behavior.METHODS:
A 25-item risk perception questionnaire was administered to a subset of participants at 8 American College of Radiology Imaging Network/NLST sites before initial and 1-year follow-up screens. Items assessed risk perceptions of lung cancer and smoking-related diseases, cognitive and emotional determinants of behavior change, and knowledge of smoking risks.RESULTS:
Among 430 NLST participants (mean age, 61.0 years; 55.6% men; 91.9% white), half were current smokers at baseline. Overall, risk perceptions and associated cognitive and emotional determinants of behavior change did not change significantly from prescreen trial enrollment to 1-year follow-up and did not differ significantly by screening test result. Changes in risk perceptions were not associated with changes in smoking status (9.7% of participants quit, and 6.6% relapsed) at 1-year follow-up.CONCLUSIONS:
Lung screening did not change participants' risk perceptions of lung cancer or smoking-related disease. A negative screening test, which was the most common screening result, did not appear to decrease risk perceptions nor provide false reassurance to smokers. Cancer 2013. © 2012 American Cancer Society.
Overall, lung screening does not significantly change risk perceptions for lung cancer or smoking-related disease. The authors recommend that tobacco risk communication and cessation become an integral part of the lung screening process.